Team at Work

More organizations are moving away from traditional organizational strategy to team organization. Firms like Nike, Motorola among others have adopted team strategy. Some research studies have confirmed the benefits of using teams to organize work. Collins (2012) cautions that, “Team member interactions are like a dance, sometimes you waltz along smoothly, sometimes you step on each other’s toes” (p.376). So the question is, Is team organization for you? Does team structure suit your organization? Is it groups or teams for you? Or is independent individuals?

Is It Groups or Teams for you?

Arnold (2012) distinguishes groups from teams as follows:

  1. Groups share some commonality like reporting to same manager, belonging to same department, etc.
  2. Group members work independently with individual accountability
  3. Group members pursue individual performance goals
  4. Teams share commonality
  5. Teams pursue common performance goal
  6. They work cooperatively with team accountability
  7. Teams have positive synergy
  8. Team success derives from collective success factors

Salesforce members working independently, pursuing individual goals would constitute a group, while members coming together for new product development would constitute a team. Team members cannot achieve goals independently. Teams need complementary expertise and, information sharing for success. The teams can be cross-functional, problem-solving, virtual or self-managed teams (Robbins & Judge, 2013). Both groups and team have interaction. Groups interact to share information with neutral synergy, while teams interact for collaborative effort with positive synergy. Collins (2012) also identifies teams with stability and enduring long enough to accomplish goals; the need for authority to make decisions, manage tasks and pursue collective goals.

Is Team Organization for you?

Organizations can pursue a group or team organization strategy depending on their context and task characteristics, as not all contexts are conducive for either strategy.

Join us for our next Highly Effective Teams Course to explore more about using teams as an organization strategy.

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